So far be it from me to complain about rain and mud, I have lived and ridden is Washington were rain and mud were the norm. I have since then avoided, like the plague, ridding in any wet conditions off road, meaning I have the confidence of a mouse on wet trails. As we headed around the corner to begin the Le Mans start the rain seemed to have stopped totally which was good.
Stefano gave us the pre-race brief….”Remember”, he said, “one minute walking is better than going to the hospital.” That of course buoyed my spirits and made sure to keep me riding easy. So off he walked having given me that go get ’em feeling, or maybe the let’s have a beer and not ride a bike at all.
The race started and I jogged, very slowly, to my bike and began walking up the first small climb because everyone else was. I still am a bit unsure as to why we were walking, but it happens, and so does rain, which came on the first lap. Now it wasn’t hard pouring rain but the irritating and gets everything slippery rain. Well I rode my little heart out for the first bit passing a few folks and trying to remember names as well as not cause any wrecks or ruffle any feathers, these are SSers after all. Bad karma to topple a fellow racer in the first two miles. All went well even up the crazy hike a bike section. To describe it properly may be impossible, I will try though. Imagine a really steep rock face with steps (kind of) that lead to the top. Now imagine wet rock face with wet steps and carrying a bike at the same time. Fun, and really it was, and do to the rain it was more fun than normal. Slippery fun. I far as I know nobody fell, which was good.
After the scaling the rock face we had to ride up a long gravel road, fun and I mean that, and I passed a couple more folks. Then I saw Mauro, a great guy and the fellow giving us drinks in the rain. But after seeing Mauro I knew what was coming up, a treacherous descent to the depths of muddy, slippery doom. Off I went, scared to death, and slipping and sliding all over the place but not falling which made me pretty happy. Until I fell. It was a nice soft landing due to the amount of mud. I was now, about 2/3rds through the first lap that the skys truly opened up. Rain and big drops too.
After the descent was another climb, more fun, and I caught all the hearty souls who flew by me down the hill. At least I can climb in the rain. But all this climbing leads to only one thing, another awful descent. This one was truly scary. It starts with a little set of stair, which last year I bailed on every time, but rode every time this year. After that it turns really nasty. TIght and twisty slippery with mud and just kind of unridable. With Stefanos words ring in my ears I bailed. A lot farther down the slope than the year before, but still way to early. Next year…maybe. So I jogged down the rest of the slippery tight trail to the next climb. Then walked the next descent and then two more laps. I finished not so well, but unharmed and with an intact bike. I also raced with a bunch of great guys and met many people that I hope to keep in contact with in the future, like at the Dutch SS race. Good beer, flat land and I do hope rain.
Now I seemed to have ended the story a bit early, but writing about me walking down hills scared doesn’t seem to interesting. After the race the weather cleared and we had a great dinner. Meat and meat and just a bit of beer. Oh yeah and Isaac took third, the first real SSer. By that I mean the only guy who always rides a SS. So enough, tired again….I need more coffee.
On a bit of a different not I saw Veet for men at a local Italian store. I took a pic as I had too and will post it when I get it downloaded. More later when good stuff happens. Ed